SUZHOU, China I April 26, 2024 I Ractigen Therapeutics, a leader in the development of small activating RNA (saRNA) therapeutics, announced today that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the company’s Investigational New Drug (IND) application for RAG-01, a groundbreaking saRNA therapy targeting non-muscle invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC). This approval facilitates the launch of U.S. clinical trials, following the successful initiation of a Phase I trial in Australia.

RAG-01 is a pioneering therapy in bladder cancer treatment, representing the first of its kind to specifically target and activate the p21 tumor suppressor gene. This gene is critical in regulating cell cycle progression and is a key component in stopping the growth of cancer cells. By activating p21, RAG-01 offers a targeted approach to potentially curb the progression of NMIBC, a prevalent form of bladder cancer.

“FDA IND approval for RAG-01 is a major achievement for Ractigen and a significant advancement for saRNA technology worldwide,” said Dr. Long-Cheng Li, Founder and CEO of Ractigen Therapeutics. “This first-in-class saRNA therapy harnesses the power of RNAa to target the p21 gene, offering a promising new option for patients with limited treatment choices. This approval validates the potential of RAG-01 as a leading saRNA therapy and strengthens our position as innovators in RNA-based treatments.”

About RAG-01: RAG-01 is a pioneering saRNA candidate engineered to target and activate the tumor suppressor gene p21 via the mechanism of RNAa. Traditionally considered “undruggable,” p21 presents a unique opportunity for saRNA-based targeted activation. The drug, delivered through intravesical instillation using Ractigen’s proprietary LiCO delivery technology, has shown significant tumor suppression in mouse orthotopic bladder cancer models. Currently, the Phase I clinical trial of RAG-01 in Australia has successfully enrolled and dosed the first three patients. Its development marks a significant stride in RNAa based therapies, addressing the unmet needs of NMIBC patients.

About NMIBC: NMIBC represents 50-80% of all bladder cancer cases. Despite standard treatments like transurethral resection of bladder tumor (TURBT) followed by intravesical BCG or chemotherapy, recurrence rates remain high, estimated at 50-70% within the first five years. RAG-01’s development is a significant step towards addressing this substantial unmet need in bladder cancer therapy.

About LiCO: LiCO, Ractigen’s proprietary extra-hepatic delivery system, enables the delivery of duplex RNA into a variety of tissues and organs which are hard to reach by conventional approach. It supports multiple administration routes, including subcutaneous, intravenous, intravesical, and intravitreal, providing profound and durable activity. Its versatility and effectiveness have been validated in many preclinical studies, marking it as a cornerstone in Ractigen’s therapeutic arsenal.

About RNAa: Pioneered by Dr. Long-Cheng Li and his team, RNAa is a clinically validated platform technology. It employs saRNA to target gene regulatory domains, activating gene expression and restoring therapeutic protein levels. This technology has vast potential for developing therapeutic drugs across various diseases, especially where traditional methods fall short, including cancer, genetic disorders, chronic diseases, and metabolic and cerebrovascular disorders.

About Ractigen Therapeutics: A leader in saRNA drug development, Ractigen Therapeutics is at the forefront of developing saRNA drugs utilizing the RNAa mechanism to up-regulate endogenous gene expression. This innovative approach involves saRNA targeting specific genes to enhance transcription, thereby restoring normal protein functions. Ractigen’s cutting-edge technology is pivotal in treating diseases unaddressable by conventional methods, such as those resulting from epigenetic silencing or gene downregulation. 

SOURCE: Ractigen Therapeutics